Philippines to receive 390,000 bivalent COVID-19 vaccines by end of May


Posted at May 02 2023 03:22 PM

ABS-CBN News/File
Vials of COVID-19 vaccines are being prepared at a vaccination site in Makati City on July 28, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Philippines is set to receive 390,000 doses of bivalent COVID-19 vaccines by the end of May, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

According to DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, the health department has already applied for an updated emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for the donated coronavirus jabs.

"Hopefully, by the end of May, we can be able to receive these 390,000 doses," she said in a press briefing.

Bivalent vaccines are modified jabs that target the omicron variant and the original form of the virus.

The state drug regulator has said donated COVID-19 vaccines require FDA authorization in the form of EUA prior to use.

Vergeire said the donor country allowed the deal to push through even without clauses on indemnification and immunity from liability, which are usually required by manufacturers and donors.

"We discuss with the government of this country at sila ay pumayag naman at nahikayat 'yung manufacturer na pumayag na that we are not going to have this immunity... Pumayag sila, nabago 'yung clause at therefore, nakapag-proceed tayo," she said.

The DOH has also secured 1,002,000 million doses of Pfizer's bivalent vaccines from COVAX Facility, a United Nations-backed international vaccine-sharing scheme.

But the delivery of the omicron-targeted jabs has been put on hold as the country is still exploring other legal remedies. They were supposed to be delivered in March.

"They have committed that once we are ready with our basis legally maaari naman tayong mabigyan pa rin," Vergeire said.

The country's state of calamity for COVID-19, which had clauses on indemnification and immunity from liability, expired on December 31.

The Philippines has 5,875 active COVID-19 cases as of April 30, the DOH's COVID-19 Tracker showed.

Three years since the pandemic started, the country has recorded over 4,093,000 coronavirus infections. The death toll stood at 66,444.

So far, more than 78.4 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Of the figure, over 23.8 million have received their first booster dose while almost 4.4 million have gotten the second booster shot.

Courtesy of DOH